With no plans one Saturday, Zhang Xin told his wife, son and mother to wear something smart and hop into the family sedan. He could have taken them to the Forbidden City or the Great Wall, but he decided on another popular destination -- IKEA.

Riding an escalator past a man lying on a display bed with a book opened on his belly, the clan sauntered into the crush of visitors squeezing onto the showroom path, bumping elbows and nicking ankles with their yellow shopping trolleys.

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